BV Keeps His Nose Clean
The World Center of Speed suddenly turned into the World Center of Salvage late Saturday night.
Amazingly, Brian Vickers’ No. 83 Red Bull Toyota survived several close shaves to finish 11th at Daytona International Speedway — a gigantic oval that morphed into a bullring to provide a wild finish on Fourth of July weekend. There were 11 caution flags on the night, and five of those waved in the final 29 laps to force overtime. Brian was right there to see most of them.
“The car’s in one piece. It’s better than a lot of people can say,” he said. “It was definitely a wreckfest.”
With 24 laps to go, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman tangled right in front of Brian. He escaped unscathed and did the same four laps later when Casey Mears and Jeff Burton lost it up ahead. Brian took evasive action down pit road, and NASCAR put him 25th in line on the restart.
Another caution flag waved with 11 laps remaining. Crew chief Kevin Hamlin brought Brian in for four tires and adjustments to loosen up the car. He restarted 28th and steered clear of two more melees, with the final one unfolding just off his rear bumper that ended the race under yellow.
The finish was good enough to maintain Brian’s 16th-place position in the driver standings. He’s 112 points out of the top 12.
“That is by far the wildest race I have been a part of in years,” Brian said. “I’ve never been beaten and banged so much in my life.”
After qualifying 13th, AJ Allmendinger had a night he’d rather forget. The No. 84’s right-front tire failed 20 laps into AJ’s first Daytona race, and the car tagged the wall. After getting the hook, AJ spent what seemed like a decade in the garage. He returned to the track 60 laps later and finished 42nd.
The No. 84 snuck up to 37th in the owner standings and is 200 points from the top 35.